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Measurement of gender and sexuality in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study


The Adolescent Brain Cognitive DevelopmentSM (ABCD) study is a longitudinal study of adolescent brain development and health that includes over 11,800 youth in the United States. The ABCD study includes broad developmental domains, and gender and sexuality are two of these with noted changes across late childhood and early adolescence. The Gender Identity and Sexual Health (GISH) workgroup recommends measures of gender and sexuality for the ABCD study, prioritizing those that are developmentally sensitive, capture individual differences in the experience of gender and sexuality, and minimize participant burden. This manuscript describes the gender and sexuality measures used in ABCD and provides guidance for researchers using these data. Data showing the utility of these measures and longitudinal trends are presented. Including assessment of gender and sexuality in ABCD allows for characterization of developmental trajectories of gender and sexuality, and the broad scope of ABCD data collection allows examination of identity development in an intersectional manner.

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